There were many things I didn't know about being a parent when my family started and I'm sure there are many more I have yet to learn.
One thing I definitely didn't realise until my children started school was that whatever time I had to myself at the weekend before reduced even more when they got into extra curricular activities.
This past weekend, one of their activities was a sponsored 6 kilometre walk. My husband did it last year, so this year was my turn. It was also my 6 year old sons first time to do the entire 6 kilometres on his own feet.
It is probably important that I mention I got home 2 hours before the walk having spent most of the previous 22 hours away from home on the hen night of my brothers lovely bride to be. I spent approximately 16 of those hours, eating, drinking, chatting and being very merry. It was fantastic, however, the persistent headache and permanent dry mouth didn't make what lay ahead any easier.
We are very lucky to live close to a beautiful wide open plain where this walk was taking place. We make use of it all the time but it is wide open, so we pay very close attention to the weather forecast.
Some weather forecasters have a sick sense of humour though, as was the case with this day.
As a large group of us set off straight into quite a bracing wind, a light rain begins to fall. Nobody is deterred, the forecast said it would be just a few light showers, nothing we couldn't handle. The rain increased with such ferocity that we all gave up on umbrellas and even hoods within minutes. Rain gear was futile.
As the driving sideways rain pelted down on us, I turned to another mum walking beside me and asked had we passed the half way mark yet. There was a sheet of rain running down her face, inside and outside her glasses, but I'm pretty sure she gave me a pitying look. My thighs were so saturated that they must have weighed an extra stone each.
As we persevered, the usual banter of such a walk, turned more towards swearing and exclamations of COME ON! and WHAT THE HELL? The rain developed a method of falling up as well as downwards and sideways. I know this because my 6 year old started to make a strange noise brought on by rain going up his nose. This was a parenting first for me.
At this point my 9 year olds leggings were so utterly drenched that she had to hold them up to avoid walking on them. I was very surprised there was no weather trucks out there observing this meteorological phenomenon. I know we live in Ireland but this was just ridiculous.
The rain finally stopped, we were so grateful, so very very grateful. I noticed my shoelace was undone. As I bent to tie it, what felt like a bucket of water which had pooled in my hood rolled across my shoulders, around my neck and down my top. This was the point when the top I was wearing became completely transparent and I sincerely regretted my poor choice of undergarments. I had to put back on my supposedly water proof jacket despite being wet inside and out. I was feeling a little weepy by now, the children doubled over belly laughing at me didn't help.
Having been given a treat by the walk organisers which the 6 year old devoured I noticed my 9 year old was walking a little stiffly. For her, the rain stopping meant the blustery wind had dried the sleeves of her corduroy jacket so well that they had stiffened. She literally couldn't bend her arms to eat her chocolate bar. I felt really bad, especially as her leggings were sagging so low now, she now had builders bum and a gap between the rigour mortised jacket and soggy leggings. While helping her get her clothes to co operate, she said, "Is this it Mum? Is this is how we all die?"
Despite the 6 year old stopping for a few 30 second standing up naps and the 9 year old bemoaning dying young and missing Christmas this year, we managed to get to the end. Muddy, wet, cold and stepping in sheep poo just as we got to the car. We had made it and I'm one very proud Mama.